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A closed Hotmail account is either waiting for you to reactivate it or is closed for good. The only way to tell is to try it out.

My Hotmail account was hacked into and even though I had access to my account, I did not feel comfortable, so I permanently closed it down. I'm still able to use the address on the hi5 website, so I know no one else has been assigned my username. I would love to once again be able to use this email account. Can you please assist me with this?

In this excerpt from Answercast #49, I walk through the ways to get an old Hotmail email account back.

Hotmail email address as login

There's a very important misunderstanding here that I want to clear up.

  • Just because you can continue to use that email address to login to your hi5 account... has nothing at all to do with whether or not the Hotmail account still exists or is still available.

  • In fact, it could have been reassigned to somebody else.

  • Hi5 and Hotmail are actually not related.

Email used as an identifier

All the email address is is an identifier. You're telling hi5 who you are and they happen to use email addresses as a way to identify you. You can make one up and it would probably work.

The problem now that you're in is... if for example:

  • You forget your password on hi5;

  • And they send you a password reset link;

  • That link will go to this old email address of yours that you may no longer have access to.

We'll get to that in a minute, but no, the fact that you can login to hi5 with that email address has nothing to do with whether or not that email address still exists, is still available, or has or has not been reassigned to someone else on the completely-unrelated Hotmail service.

Reactivate your account

Now, in order to see if you can still reactivate that account, the only thing you can do is:

  • Go to Hotmail and try to login with it.

  • If you can, then you've got it back.

That's how Hotmail determines whether or not somebody really changes their mind when they've deactivated or abandoned an account. All you really have to do is log into it, using the web interface, and if it comes back, fantastic.

If the login fails

If you can't (in other words, if the login fails), that means either of two things:

  • One, the account itself truly is deleted - and there is no email address of that name anymore;

  • Or it means that the email address was finally freed, so that it could be re-used by other people and somebody else took it.

Now, the only way to determine whether or not that's the case is to now:

  • Try and create a new Hotmail account with that old email address. If it works, you're back in business.

  • If it fails, I don't know of a way to get that email address back.

Like I said, it could very well have been reassigned to someone new who came along and chose that as their new email address on Hotmail.

Email recovery

So, bottom line:

  • It's not related to whether or not you can login to hi5 at all. You cannot make any assumptions about that.

  • If you can login to your Hotmail account, great!

  • If you can't, try creating a new Hotmail account with the old email address. If you can, great!

  • If you can't, then in my opinion, you're out of luck.

Article C5759 - September 1, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

September 4, 2012 7:17 PM

If you cannot get full access and control of your old Hotmail account, GO to all websites where the address was used as an "identifier" and CHANGE your identifier to an email address you do control. Otherwise, the new owner of the Hotmail account may inadvertently be "invited to takeover" your related accounts.

September 8, 2012 2:46 PM

when I log into hotmail ..The page comes up blank except down the left side and it doesnt email will not work..I am a senior and used this for long years ..Saved pictures of my dead husband . I can't get anything ..WHY ??

I'd have you start by clearing the browser cache: What's a browser cache, how do I "clear" it, and why would I want to?
September 8, 2012 2:53 PM

Something is off on your computer. You probably need to do a bunch of stuff like check for viruses, make sure that all updates have completed, clear your browser cache, etc.

The easiest and quickest thing to do is download and try another browser, like Firefox or Chrome.

Here's an article from Leo on Clear browser cache

September 11, 2012 12:51 PM

If in order to reactivate your account Hotmail asks for a telephone number to which to send a reset code, don't include the initial "0" (at least outside the US) or it won't work: I've known people to be foxed for weeks by this...

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